Small angle neutron scattering for the study of solubilised membrane proteins
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- Breyton, C., Gabel, F., Lethier, M. et al. Eur. Phys. J. E (2013) 36: 71. doi:10.1140/epje/i2013-13071-6
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Small angle neutron scattering (SANS) is a powerful technique for investigating association states and conformational changes of biological macromolecules in solution. SANS is of particular interest for the study of the multi-component systems, as membrane protein complexes, for which in vitro characterisation and structure determination are often difficult. This article details the important physical properties of surfactants in view of small angle neutron scattering studies and the interest to deuterate membrane proteins for contrast variation studies. We present strategies for the production of deuterated membrane proteins and methods for quality control. We then review some studies on membrane proteins, and focus on the strategies to overcome the intrinsic difficulty to eliminate homogeneously the detergent or surfactant signal for solubilised membrane proteins, or that of lipids for membrane proteins inserted in liposomes.